Is Debt Community Property in Texas?

In a divorce, figuring out how to divide your finances can be challenging. This division is even more complex when one or both of you have debt.

Unresolved debt can create a substantial burden on your finances, so it’s important to understand which debts you are responsible for in a divorce. 

What are the laws in Texas about community property and debt? The following information can help you find out more about how debt relates to divorces in Texas. 

Is Texas a Community Property State?

Texas is a community property state, so sometimes debts are community debt. In most community property states, the court splits debts that accumulate during a marriage 50-50. 

Does Texas Make Exceptions to Debt as Community Property?

Texas makes multiple exceptions where debt is not community property. The following list explains some of these exceptions.   

Separate Debts Exception

In Texas, if you acquired debt before your marriage, it is a separate debt. Separate debts aren’t community property, so they aren’t split in a divorce proceeding.

For example, if you took out a loan before your marriage, the debt is your responsibility. On the other hand, if your ex has debt that they took out before marriage, you won’t be responsible for it. 

If, however, you take out debt after getting married, it is not separate debt, and this exception won’t apply.  

Direct Debt Exception

Texas doesn’t automatically split all debt 50-50. Courts will examine who should be responsible for the debt.

For example, if you took out a credit card in your name alone and you were the only one who made charges on it, that is a direct debt. Under Texas law, you would be completely responsible for that debt.

Keep in mind, this exception doesn’t apply if you used the card to purchase necessities, like food and housing, or if your spouse asked you to borrow money. In these cases, your spouse would be indirectly liable, and a court would divide the debt. 

Post-Divorce Debts

Of course, after the date of divorce, debts are no longer community property. They are separate debts. 

What About Post-Separation Debts?

In Texas, post-separation debts are generally community property. You and your spouse may decide to separate before filing for divorce. The court considers any debts that accrue during this time to be marital debt. 

What if My Spouse and I Agree On How to Split Our Debts?

If you and your spouse agree on how to divide your debts, the court will likely approve your agreement. Before the court enters a final decree of divorce, make sure your agreement is fair. 

Are My Creditors Bound to the Outcome of My Divorce?

No. This information is essential: your creditors do not have to follow the terms of your divorce.

For example, say you and your spouse took out a joint credit card. During your divorce, the court may find that your spouse is responsible. Even so, the credit card company can still come after you to collect payments.

Contact a Divorce Lawyer

If you’re going through a divorce, you need to make sure you won’t be responsible for debts that aren’t yours. Our experienced Austin Divorce Lawyer can help you determine what is community property. To learn more, contact us today!